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– UM Recognized as Top 10 Military-Friendly School in the Nation

3 hours ago

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has achieved a significant milestone by being recognized among the top 10 schools in the nation for military preparedness by the Military Friendly Advisory Council, marking a record high for Mississippi’s flagship university.

The Military Friendly ranking evaluates colleges and universities based on their support for veterans and active military members. Over the past four years, Ole Miss has steadily improved its Military Friendly ranking, progressing from being unranked in 2019-20 to achieving bronze and silver status in 2020-21 and 2021-22, and ultimately attaining gold status in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

The latest 2024-25 ranking, unveiled on March 27, positions the university among the top 10 for the first time, securing the No. 2 spot in the SEC. Additionally, this year, Ole Miss has been ranked in the top 5 nationally and holds the No. 1 spot in the SEC.

Chancellor Glenn Boyce expressed pride in the university’s latest recognition from the Military Friendly Advisory Council, emphasizing the institution’s dedication to supporting veterans and active military members. He highlighted the supportive environment at Ole Miss and commended the individuals leading the university’s military services programs for their unwavering commitment.

Andrew Newby, the head of veteran and military services at the university, attributed Ole Miss’ ascent in the Military Friendly rankings to its enhanced focus on veterans and military-affiliated students on campus. In the past six years, significant efforts have been made to [ppp1] enhance the support services for student veterans, including the introduction of the George Street House, a facility that enables student veterans to access healthcare conveniently on campus without having to travel long distances to VA facilities.

The George Street House not only assists student veterans in navigating GI Bill benefits and VA benefits but also serves as a dedicated space for them to study, unwind, and find camaraderie, Newby explained. The ultimate objective is to guide student veterans through their journey at Ole Miss and beyond, setting a standard for other institutions to follow in supporting student veterans and military-connected individuals.

To further bolster support for students, leaders from the [ppp2] and [ppp3] underwent Mental Health First Aid training earlier this year to better assist students in need. This initiative aligns with Chancellor Boyce’s Well-Being Initiative, launched last fall, underscoring the university’s commitment to promoting mental health awareness and providing resources to support student well-being.

Research published in the American Journal of College Health has revealed that [ppp4] student veterans are at a higher risk of mental health challenges compared to their peers but often do not seek treatment. Recognizing the importance of addressing mental health concerns, Master Sgt. Anthony Douglas, the operations coordinator for veteran and military services, emphasized the significance of equipping staff members with the skills to identify signs of mental distress and offer empathetic support while guiding students to available resources on campus.

The George Street House, managed exclusively by veterans or current military members, serves as a vital hub on campus where veterans can study, socialize, and connect with a community that understands their experiences, noted Taylor Bridges, the Student Veteran Association president. Bridges highlighted the unique value of the George Street House in fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among military-affiliated students, providing a supportive environment where shared experiences create a strong bond among peers.

The recognition received by the University of Mississippi as a top military-friendly school underscores its ongoing commitment to prioritizing the well-being and success of veterans and military-connected individuals within the university community.

By Clara Turnage